T-cell response to different cultivars of farro wheat, Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccum, in celiac disease patients

Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;28(3):272-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2009.03.013. Epub 2009 Apr 23.


Background & aims: Celiac disease is a gluten sensitive disorder that occurs in genetically susceptible individuals. The present study deals with variation in the immune response of mucosal T-cells from celiac children to prolamins extracted from nine landraces of farro wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccum) with contrasting storage protein compositions.

Methods: The prolamin fraction from nine 'dicoccum' wheat landraces was subjected to peptic-tryptic digestion and supplied to T-cells from mucosal explants of four celiac patients. Immune reactions in terms of cell proliferation and INF-gamma secretion by intestinal T lymphocytes were then determined.

Results: T-cell lines exposed to digested prolamins from landraces L5563, L5558 and L5540 showed negligible proliferative responses and released INF-gamma amounts similar to that of untreated control cells. By contrast, landraces Ersa 6, Ersa 8, Leonessa 4 and Leonessa 5 proved to be very active in triggering the immune responses, whereas landraces Filosini and Prometeo exhibited an intermediate behavior. One-dimensional fractionations by A-PAGE or SDS-PAGE revealed distinctive prolamin patterns amongst the landraces analysed.

Conclusions: 'Dicoccum' wheat represents a heterogeneous species showing a wide variation in both prolamin composition and T-cell immunological activation, some 'dicoccum' landraces being poor in or devoid of noxious gluten proteins.

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / genetics
  • Celiac Disease / immunology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Prolamins / chemistry
  • Prolamins / pharmacology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Triticum* / chemistry


  • Prolamins
  • Interferon-gamma